The trust between commissioner Adam Silver and players’ union president Chris Paul and their mutual friendship with Disney executive chairman Robert Iger were vital to reaching a plan to resume the NBA season, but the deal was driven primarily by monetary concerns, according to Marc Stein and Brooks Barnes of The New York Times.
Several team officials contacted by Stein and Barnes admitted the league has a strong financial incentive to finish the season. They spoke anonymously because the league doesn’t like public comments on its economic state, but the authors observe that getting games on TV again and making sure players get paid seemed more important to the process than the idea of crowning a champion. Many around the league considered it “financially unfeasible” to scrap the rest of the season.
Front offices and players understand the financial pressures the league is facing, Stein and Barnes write. Silver admitted in February that “hundreds of millions of dollars” were lost from the dispute with China, and the coronavirus has eliminated fan attendance at games, which accounts for roughly 40% of annual revenues.
Here’s more on the NBA restart:
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An asterisk (*) indicates the team won the NBA championship that season. A double-asterisk (**) indicates the franchise made it to the Conference Finals in a different city from where it is currently located.